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Press Release | Advocacy, Home Health, Hospice, Legislative, Policy

NAHC Statement on the Omnibus Legislation

December 23, 2022
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Media Contact: Thomas Threlkeld
Director of Communications, NAHC
202-547-7424/tom@nahc.org

NAHC Statement on the Omnibus Legislation

Washington, D.C. – On the eve of a federal shutdown, the United States Congress passed bipartisan legislation that will fund government operations through September 30, 2023. Included within the legislation is a series of health care-related measures designed to address the ongoing difficulties affecting health care providers and the patients they serve. While the pandemic and ongoing cost inflation has brought out the best in the patient-centered dedication of home care and hospice providers, the pressures on these essential care providers is mounting. We recognize and thank the Congress for taking steps that will help protect access to the high-quality and cost-effective care provided in patients’ homes. We further call on Congress to continue this work in 2023 to ensure that the 14 million patients annually receiving home care and hospice services continue have full access to care in the setting of their choice, their own homes.

Specifically, we are very pleased that the legislation postpones the risk of a four percent Medicare payment rate cut for all providers, including home health agencies and hospices. The extension of support for rural home health services is also a step in the right direction as we have experienced a notable decline in access to care in the over 2000 rural counties. Telehealth has become an essential care tool not only in these rural areas, but throughout the nation. Continuing the flexibilities in Medicare that allow for expanded telehealth care will provide the opportunity to design and implement this needed modernization of the Medicare program.

We look forward to a continued partnership with Congress in 2023 to strengthen home health services for Medicare beneficiaries including those enrolled in Medicare Advantage plans, improve care options with palliative and end-of-life care, and stabilize and expand Medicaid home and community-based services that has benefited millions of individuals and state Medicaid programs as well. Among the needed action from Congress and regulatory bodies is to secure reasonable and fair supports from Medicare Advantage plans and state Medicaid programs.

It is also crucial that we take advantage of what we learned during the pandemic that has fully demonstrated the value of health care at home with such programs as Hospital at Home and others that amplified our knowledge that high quality home care has few barriers we cannot remove with sensible legislative and regulatory action. Such innovations should be of the highest priority in 2023.

In the Omnibus legislation, Congress took steps in recognition that we have no health care without a devoted workforce that receives the respect that it deserves. We must do more to grow and support our health care workforce that proved itself to be among our most valuable citizens during the pandemic. NAHC commits that it will be a constructive partner with Congress in 2023 to develop and implement the measures needed to achieve the health care workforce America needs and deserves.

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About NAHC: The National Association for Home Care & Hospice (NAHC) is the voice of home care and hospice. NAHC represents the nation’s 33,000 home care and hospice providers, along with the more than two million nurses, therapists, and aides they employ. These caregivers provide vital services to Americans who are aged, disabled, and ill. Some 12 million patients depend on home care and hospice providers, who depend on NAHC for the best in advocacy, education, and information. NAHC is a nonprofit organization that helps its members maintain the highest standards of care. To learn more, visit nahc.org.